Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby BrianC » May 9, 2011 11:08 am

tncaver wrote:
BrianC wrote:It has been almost five years now, does any one know if cavers spread WNS? Millions of dollars have been spent closing caves, but nothing has been used to determine how WNS spreads? What's up?


All those gated caves have proved one thing BrianC. That bats spread WNS to each other.

I was thinking that same thing! And you know, it didn't require any money being thrown at it t figure that out!
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby David Grimes » May 9, 2011 1:38 pm

PYoungbaer wrote:Hey, Brian,

I forgot you aren't an NSS member, so wouldn't have read the article in the NSS News April Conservation issue. I wrote a lengthy piece on various aspects of the WNS issue, including details on research. I suggest you check out the section on transmission - especially Hazel Barton's current project. We posted the article on the NSS' WNS Web site:

http://www.caves.org/WNS/NSS%20News%20article%20Apri%202011.pdf


Peter,

That is precisely the types of articles I think we need to be working to get published in newspapers and on other websites outside of the NSS. The article does not bend the truth but rather points out the truly relevant facts about WNS and the blanket cave closures. The problem is like you noted to Brian, only NSS members (and those who may have ventured to the WNS page and found the article) have read it. Why is the PR committee not pushing these articles, trying to get articles like this or even condensed versions if space is an issue, into national publications.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby PYoungbaer » May 9, 2011 5:00 pm

David,

We/they have been working on doing so for well over a year. However, there are legitimate journalistic reasons why this has not yet occurred. First, some major national magazines, such as National Geographic, have already done a story on WNS, so are not particularly interested at the moment. NG frequently does cave pieces, but not "puff" pieces on organizations like the NSS. Second, in discussions with several magazines, they regard themselves as having high journalistic standards, and thus would not accept a commissioned piece, or one with an advocacy angle. If they decided to do a story, they will assign a writer, and then seek in put on a story from a multitude of sources. If you read through some of the longer, more substantial pieces on WNS, you'll see they cite numerous people with various viewpoints. The NSS and caving community has been included in a number of those, but not enough. I've spoken with dozens and dozens of reporters and other writers over the years about WNS, caving, the NSS, etc., but they usually boil down lengthy interviews to a sentence or three - no matter who you are.

For this reason, I write the pieces for the NSS publications, and we post them and attempt to circulate them as widely as possible. It's also the reason we've just posted a short, two-page, background piece on the NSS and WNS for anyone to use and share with their local media or if you give a talk at your local library, for example. We're trying to get that out there by whatever means we can. That piece is available here:
http://www.caves.org/WNS/The%20NSS%20and%20WNS%20final.pdf

As an alternative, we've even explored buying space in a national publication and publishing our own piece. These are called "advertorials" in the trade, and generally looked down upon by writers and readers alike as not good journalism. Serious writers consider these to demean their reputations, and the major national magazines editorial boards avoid them. They are expensive, too, and the choice we've made is not to go that route.

There are many ways the NSS could be improving its publicity - even simple things like getting press releases out for grant awards, conservation projects, book publications, grotto formations, etc. This should be regular and sustained. That takes work and serious volunteer hours. When press releases are sent out, people must be readily available for the media to contact and confirm or elaborate on stories. Not every release gets picked up, but sometimes they are national, sometimes regional, and sometimes local. Many papers are looking for material, and, if it's there, it'll get picked up. Over time, the NSS (or any entity doing this in a sustained manner) will be looked at as the "go-to" place for information on caves and caving. Many of us "think" the NSS should be in that position now, but the lack of a sustained effort for many years means many, if not most mainstream media outlets don't know of us.

Frankly, I think it would take some intense up front work to develop a media mailing list and a structure for NSS news items to be sent out from the NSS office. The PR committee, or Chair, or designated editor, or PR person, needs to vet materials from the various NSS internal organizations for accuracy, grammar, and consistency with NSS policy, and then push the "send" button. Materials can come from pretty much anywhere. For example, the Safety and Techniques Committee could issue a press release that it has a new WNS decon video. Quick and simple - contact Aaron for more info. The Conservation Section (Val Hildreth-Werker) could issue a press release citing the number of volunteer hours NSS members put in for federal agencies last year. The San Francisco Bay Chapter of the NSS could issue a press release saying it cleaned up XYZ Cave, and the PR committee could add a paragraph saying this brings the total number of NSS grotto conservation projects to 57 for the year. The Board could issue a press release announcing the results of the elections. Every issue of the Journal should be accompanied by a press release. The publication of these studies is news, and should be treated as such. Etc., etc., etc.

We do virtually none of this now. I think you get the picture - many people generating material, sent out through a central point for consistency.

Getting out of this hole will take years, in my opinion, but we need to start somewhere. So, go download the document above, carry it around with you, use it when you talk to your media, your Congressman, your garden club or scout troop. If each of us does that, we can begin to build our presence back up. No one's going to do it for us, but us.

Hope that provides some perspective.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby BrianC » May 9, 2011 6:07 pm

PYoungbaer wrote:David,

We/they have been working on doing so for well over a year. However, there are legitimate journalistic reasons why this has not yet occurred. First, some major national magazines, such as National Geographic, have already done a story on WNS, so are not particularly interested at the moment. NG frequently does cave pieces, but not "puff" pieces on organizations like the NSS. Second, in discussions with several magazines, they regard themselves as having high journalistic standards, and thus would not accept a commissioned piece, or one with an advocacy angle. If they decided to do a story, they will assign a writer, and then seek in put on a story from a multitude of sources. If you read through some of the longer, more substantial pieces on WNS, you'll see they cite numerous people with various viewpoints. The NSS and caving community has been included in a number of those, but not enough. I've spoken with dozens and dozens of reporters and other writers over the years about WNS, caving, the NSS, etc., but they usually boil down lengthy interviews to a sentence or three - no matter who you are.

For this reason, I write the pieces for the NSS publications, and we post them and attempt to circulate them as widely as possible. It's also the reason we've just posted a short, two-page, background piece on the NSS and WNS for anyone to use and share with their local media or if you give a talk at your local library, for example. We're trying to get that out there by whatever means we can. That piece is available here:
http://www.caves.org/WNS/The%20NSS%20and%20WNS%20final.pdf

As an alternative, we've even explored buying space in a national publication and publishing our own piece. These are called "advertorials" in the trade, and generally looked down upon by writers and readers alike as not good journalism. Serious writers consider these to demean their reputations, and the major national magazines editorial boards avoid them. They are expensive, too, and the choice we've made is not to go that route.

There are many ways the NSS could be improving its publicity - even simple things like getting press releases out for grant awards, conservation projects, book publications, grotto formations, etc. This should be regular and sustained. That takes work and serious volunteer hours. When press releases are sent out, people must be readily available for the media to contact and confirm or elaborate on stories. Not every release gets picked up, but sometimes they are national, sometimes regional, and sometimes local. Many papers are looking for material, and, if it's there, it'll get picked up. Over time, the NSS (or any entity doing this in a sustained manner) will be looked at as the "go-to" place for information on caves and caving. Many of us "think" the NSS should be in that position now, but the lack of a sustained effort for many years means many, if not most mainstream media outlets don't know of us.

Frankly, I think it would take some intense up front work to develop a media mailing list and a structure for NSS news items to be sent out from the NSS office. The PR committee, or Chair, or designated editor, or PR person, needs to vet materials from the various NSS internal organizations for accuracy, grammar, and consistency with NSS policy, and then push the "send" button. Materials can come from pretty much anywhere. For example, the Safety and Techniques Committee could issue a press release that it has a new WNS decon video. Quick and simple - contact Aaron for more info. The Conservation Section (Val Hildreth-Werker) could issue a press release citing the number of volunteer hours NSS members put in for federal agencies last year. The San Francisco Bay Chapter of the NSS could issue a press release saying it cleaned up XYZ Cave, and the PR committee could add a paragraph saying this brings the total number of NSS grotto conservation projects to 57 for the year. The Board could issue a press release announcing the results of the elections. Every issue of the Journal should be accompanied by a press release. The publication of these studies is news, and should be treated as such. Etc., etc., etc.

We do virtually none of this now. I think you get the picture - many people generating material, sent out through a central point for consistency.

Getting out of this hole will take years, in my opinion, but we need to start somewhere. So, go download the document above, carry it around with you, use it when you talk to your media, your Congressman, your garden club or scout troop. If each of us does that, we can begin to build our presence back up. No one's going to do it for us, but us.

Hope that provides some perspective.


It would make better sense to simply state WNS for what it is, not what it's not! Publicize that and it will take off from there. Peter, you are right, I have declined reinstating my NSS membership this year because I have not found that my money was being used for caving resources. That can quickly change with the mailing of $40.00. I don't see any reason at this point.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby tncaver » May 9, 2011 6:17 pm

If individual members would get off their duff and write the media every time they get the opportunity or see an article full of crap regarding WNS,
(which is often these days), then perhaps the public, the media and the USFWS would eventually get the message about the reality of WNS.
Quite simply, 10,000 members writing "everyone" (meaning media, legislators, USFWS, etc) could have a HUGE positive affect toward keeping
a lot of caves open and maybe opening a lot of currently closed caves. REMEMBER, all caves do not have bats, yet on Forest Service land, ALL CAVES
ARE CLOSED. Isn't this what I've been preaching for the past 4 years? Yes it is.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby caverdan » May 9, 2011 6:36 pm

This is exactly what the BOG should be doing for us. Writing letters and leading this campaign. They should also be working HARD on dispelling this one Oklahoma bat BS that did not have WNS....yet all these cave closures out West are based on this one fricken bat and the bad science behind it.??? The more ya'll dick with a world headquarters we can't afford.....the darker this situation becomes. :yikes: :down: :doh: :argue: Unless things change.....there is no reason for me to renew this fall.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby Pippin » May 9, 2011 7:31 pm

caverdan wrote:This is exactly what the BOG should be doing for us. Writing letters and leading this campaign. They should also be working HARD on dispelling this one Oklahoma bat BS that did not have WNS....yet all these cave closures out West are based on this one fricken bat and the bad science behind it.??? The more ya'll dick with a world headquarters we can't afford.....the darker this situation becomes. :yikes: :down: :doh: :argue: Unless things change.....there is no reason for me to renew this fall.


What Dan said! You need to repost this on the thread talking about the new office. Can you even go caving in your area, or are all the good caves closed?
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby tncaver » May 9, 2011 7:43 pm

What I meant is.....the NSS isn't going to do anything for cavers so the NSS members need to act on their own behalf.
Besides. 10,000 individuals writing to their legislators, USFWS, and the media, can do way more to open caves, than
one organization that isn't doing much to keep caves open ( other than Peter Youngbaer). Peter is doing HIS part, why
aren't the NSS members doing their part? Do something besides complain. ACT to get non bat caves back open.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby caverdan » May 9, 2011 8:42 pm

Pippin wrote:
caverdan wrote:This is exactly what the BOG should be doing for us. Writing letters and leading this campaign. They should also be working HARD on dispelling this one Oklahoma bat BS that did not have WNS....yet all these cave closures out West are based on this one fricken bat and the bad science behind it.??? The more ya'll dick with a world headquarters we can't afford.....the darker this situation becomes. :yikes: :down: :doh: :argue: Unless things change.....there is no reason for me to renew this fall.


What Dan said! You need to repost this on the thread talking about the new office. Can you even go caving in your area, or are all the good caves closed?


The only good caving around here is on the private land of Cave of the Winds. I have access to it all....including one of the best caves in the state. The convention howdy party is at one of the other best caves in the state and we'll be up there caving all week. We don't need no stinking USFS caves to have fun around here. :laughing:

So are any BOG members even involved in writing a letter for the cause? :cavechat:
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby David Grimes » May 9, 2011 9:39 pm

I agree, a lot of great caves and possibly some of the best are on private land. My issue concerns newer cavers and some of my personal favorites. Public caves provide a great place for new cavers to try it for themselves. When you first started caving did you immediately have access to privately owned caves or did you start with public caves? This is an area that hurts new member growth for the NSS. A lot of people would rather try caving with a small group of friends (whether or not they use proper equipment is irrelevant), that is what hooks the true cavers and entices them to seek out a grotto to expand their caving prospects. If the group of friends are not cavers then they are not likely to know any private cave owners or locations.

The issue with cavers uniting is exactly the reason you state, if it does not affect your personal caving then why bother. I know lots of cavers who are not concerned even in areas where the caves are closed because they generally only cave in privately owned caves. Until cavers work together as a whole unit we will accomplish very little. There will always be the group of cavers out there who believe that humans are responsible for spreading WNS (however small that group may be) that we cannot convince, but there are plenty of cavers who want their caves back we just need to stand together and fight back.

Since this thread is spiraling off topic, no cavers do not spread WNS in my opinion.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby Teresa » May 10, 2011 1:29 pm

tncaver wrote:If individual members would get off their duff and write the media every time they get the opportunity or see an article full of crap regarding WNS,(which is often these days), then perhaps the public, the media and the USFWS would eventually get the message about the reality of WNS.
Quite simply, 10,000 members writing "everyone" (meaning media, legislators, USFWS, etc) could have a HUGE positive affect toward keeping
a lot of caves open and maybe opening a lot of currently closed caves. REMEMBER, all caves do not have bats, yet on Forest Service land, ALL CAVES
ARE CLOSED. Isn't this what I've been preaching for the past 4 years? Yes it is.


tncaver pushed the right button. Yes the BOG needs to do their official thing. But something out from the BOG will be treated as a news release. Yes, those are needed too. But an editor is much more likely to run a letter of outrage from John or Jane Q Caver, talking about a specific problem in a specific place. The personal approach gets more points at a Congresscritter's office than a whole basket of form letters.

People who have decent caving credentials, or science credentials or even volunteer credentials should also call editors and ask them to run pieces on WNS. Volunteer to write one. You don't have to be a genius; you just need to be able to take accurate notes from the experts you talk to. Put some emotion into the article, but don't be hysterical.

Editors will take notice if they get a news release from an organization AND then inquiries from the public. Peter is correct about blatant advertorials but there is another way: a straight news story can be sponsored by maybe an outdoor store, or an agency, or a non-profit, with the ad to run next to the story, but the advertiser not writing nor controlling what is said. Editors really like "story+ad" ideas. We just ran an article telling what was cool about the county I live in: after it was written, staff then went out and got ads to put on the same page. People go to read the article, and the ad impinges on their eyeballs. Win-win. Duh.

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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby wyandottecaver » May 10, 2011 5:05 pm

This would all be great. If it happened 3 yrs ago. Today it simply doesn't matter much anymore.

Forget about human transmission...that battle is lost in the public arena. We *might* have success on the scientific arena there eventually, but newsie pieces aren't gonna matter at this point. The NSS, and in large part, local grottos, have lost that battle already. France isn't getting louisana back and we aren't gonna get rid of "human transmission". Accept it and move on.

Forget about caving on public land...If your state hasn't adopted a plan yet, try to show them good examples like VA. If your state has adopted a plan, stop wasting air and effort.

Right now we need to be:

Talking directly to private owners to secure access for the people they know...if they don't know you, you better get introduced quick.

Getting word out in the papers about the USFWS proposals to possibly list additional bat species under the Endangered Species Act. THAT battle is just starting and will likely be more important than all the other ones above combined. We need to get out ahead and make OUR position the one people have heard about and accept as the default. Let the USFWS fight the uphill PR battle for Species Listing we now face with human transmission.

Urging Congressmen to oppose any new bat listings, and oppose the use of any USFWS funds to gate or otherwise restrict access to caves without demonstrating physical proof of a direct HUMAN threat to members of an Endangered Species.

If you fight yesterday's war today, then you will lose.
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby BrianC » Jul 7, 2011 1:29 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:
If you fight yesterday's war today, then you will lose.

Don't think so! Actually critical habitat will remove any possibility of using even private property! We all know by now that humans can not be moving the fungus because we are not seeing it where we have been caving. We must go back to the original question, " Do cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?", and show the proof admonishing cavers for their good deeds and facts that provide enough evidence that cavers do not nor have they ever spread WNS. There will be nothing else capable of dissemination of facts possible of alleviating any guilt other than bat to bat! Act very quickly now! Or loose!
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby Cheryl Jones » Jul 12, 2011 11:39 am

Hey! The truth is out. It's the "hikers" who are spreading WNS! It's on the TV news, so it must be true.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/ ... ncol;lst;2
:popcorn:
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Re: Do Cavers spread White Nose Syndrome?

Postby rlboyce » Jul 12, 2011 11:53 am

Those irresponsible, uncaring and selfish hikers!! We should close 50% of hiking trails and impose thorough decontamination procedures, because the USFWS "thinks" they spread the fungus. What the USFWS thinks is good enough for me. While we're at it, we'll make them pay lots of money for permits and continue to blame them for the spread.
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